A Wild Idea

A wild idea: a merlin (Falco columbarius) perches precariously on a willow twig.
Merlin (Falco columbarius).

What’s the business model of this blog? Freely available nature writing that’s supported only by donations? Preposterous! This is, to say the least, a wild idea. Most financially successful blogs aren’t exactly free. They try to sell you something, clutter your screen with ads, or require a paid subscription. I don’t want to sell you something, and I hate ads. I just want to do writing that will serve you, my readers – writing that you can access whether or not you can afford a subscription. With my own funds, I have the resources to give this a try for a year. Until June of 2023, I’ll be writing here once a week. I’m hoping that these articles will inspire you, teach you something, and get you involved in the natural world.

The supporters I acknowledge here are making this wild idea into a sustainable reality. I can’t thank you all enough! 6 people donating $5 a month will cover my expenses for website hosting. If 215 people donate $5 a month, my gross income will be just above the federal poverty line – enough that I’ll be able to continue this work somewhat sustainably.

YOU are the community that makes this possible

My supporters give a monthly donation via my Patreon page. There are four levels of support, which I named for four incredible native plants. Each plant hosts butterfly and moth caterpillars and plays an important role in maintaining biodiversity. (See the National Wildlife Federation’s excellent Native Plant Finder for more information.)

  • Oak (Quercus spp.): Where oaks are native, they are phenomenal trees for caterpillars as well as for their acorns. In central North Carolina, for example (where I once lived), they support 488 species of butterflies and moths.
  • Cottonwood (Populus spp.): Incredible wildlife trees. Around Helena, Montana, they support 245 species of butterflies & moths.
  • Goldenrod (Solidago spp.): Important late-summer flowers; around Helena, Montana they support 65 species of butterflies & moths.
  • Showy milkweed (Asclepias speciosa): A beautiful pollinator plant. Around Helena, Montana, it supports 6 species of butterflies & moths.

A huge thank you to the folks I acknowledge below for believing in this project and supporting it. You truly are the community that makes this possible.

Oak Supporters

Bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa)

NEW – Become the first!

Cottonwood Supporters

cottonwood leaves
  • Jeff Sater
  • John Sater
  • Aaron Millis
  • David Green
  • Caroline Kurtz
  • Jeremiah Thompson

Goldenrod Supporters

giant goldenrod (Solidago gigantea)
  • Shanna Cozort
  • Kate Wilburn
  • Jo Sater
  • Linda Hein
  • Connor Mertz
  • Jane Fritz
  • Lexie de Fremery
  • Bob Martinka
  • Jill Trick
  • Nancy Sater
  • Roger Rosentreter
  • Julie Early
  • Cindy Swidler

Milkweed Supporters

showy milkweed (Asclepias speciosa)
  • Brian Balmer
  • Marisa Diaz-Waian
  • Katherine Greiner
  • Corie Bowditch
  • Phoebe Hunter
  • Sarah Kamis
  • Howard Johnson
  • Oskar Marszalek
  • Louise Weaver